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The Brick Industry Worldwide

Globally brick kilns burn 375,000,000 tonnes of coal per year. For example, in India brick manufacturing is the second highest coal consumer after the steel industry.

The introduction of a fuel-efficient, cost-effective kiln technology that produces high-quality bricks is economically, socially and environmentally critical. HZZK technology provides a kiln that meets the needs of the brick industry in the developing world.

The brick industry in the developing world is a vast, coal burning and polluting industry almost entirely lacking automation. 1,500 billion bricks are produced globally each year, of these 1,300 billion bricks (or 87%) are from Asia.

Rapidly accelerating urbanization at an average rate of 6% p.a, this growth is driving increasing demand for bricks. Solid, fired clay bricks are among the most widely used building materials.

The cost of fuel and its availability is a major concern for brick entrepreneurs.

The labour-intensive exercise of hand moulding clay into bricks (Hand-made bricks), is the predominant way of shaping green bricks in developing countries. In contrast, bricks in the developed world are machine-made, fired in highly automated electricity-dependent tunnel kilns using a skilled labour force. The brick sector in developing countries is generally labour intensive and non-mechanized. The lack of automation is the result of a number of factors, including;

  • Availability of a pool of a mainly itinerant, low-cost workforce.
  • The workforce is mainly drawn from subsistence farmers and this is their only source of cash income.
  • Lack of access to consistent electricity/power supply to run machinery.
  • The extremely high capital cost of establishing mechanized kilns and the resultant extended payback periods for their owners in what is a free enterprise system in most countries


Country Production % No. Billion P.A.
China 66.67% 1,000
India 13.33% **200
Pakistan 3.00% 45
Vietnam 1.67% 25
Bangladesh 1.13% 17
Nepal 0.40% 6
Rest of Asia 0.47% 7
Total Asia 86.67% 1,300
USA 0.53% 8
UK 0.37% 4
Australia 0.13% 2
Rest of World 12.40% 186
Total Rest of World (Incl. Latin America) 13.33% 200

Global Brick Production

100.00% 1,500

Source: Ellen Baum – Session 1, Mexico & India: GKSPL Estiate, Pakistan: Estimate based on CIWCE report Lahore, Bangladesh & China: ESMAP & World Bank Report, Vietnam: Ministry of Construction Vietnam

* Figures are based on a very conservative 300,000 brick kilns, today there are more than 500,000.  In India alone it is estimated there are up to 280,000 kilns and the industry is still expanding.

** Increased to 250-300 Billion in 2019

A Snapshot of the Indian Brick Industry

  • Consumes 30-35 million tonnes coal p.a, biomass (12-16 million tonnes p.a. ) agricultural residue, sawdust, rice husks, scavenged fuels, e.g. wood, oil and car tyres. Up to 280,000 kilns; 90% are rudimentary, non-standardised, unorganized sector.
  • 65% of brick production occurs on the northern Indo-Gangetic Plains (bordering the Himalayas), “the region that experiences the most extreme levels of air pollution in the world”. Kiln clusters of 300-500 kilns operate on city limits
  • World’s 2nd largest producer of bricks, 250-300 billion p.a. (mostly handmade)
  • India is the largest Black Carbon emitter in South Asia. The brick sector represents two-thirds of total industrial sector BC emissions. More than 100,000 tonnes BC p.a. Highly polluted, New Delhi estimated 15% PM2.5 attributed to kilns.
  • Brick manufacturing is the second highest coal consumer after steel industry in India. Demand increase 200%-300% expected by 2030
  • Employs approximately 15 million workers: many in extremely harsh, unsafe working conditions, including modern day slavery, debt bondage and child labour

CCAC Mitigating Black Carbon PDFThe Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) recently published a comprehensive and interesting report on the worlds brick industry: ‘Mitigating Black Carbon And Other Pollutants From Brick Production’